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Member Service improvements


giffgaff is growing... very fast, which is fantastic news. I wish I could share with you exactly how well we're doing but as we've said before it's too commerically sensitive to reveal our exact numbers. Suffice to say we are well ahead of where we thought we'd be at this stage.

However success does bring with it its own set of problems. One of those is that in last 3 months we have seen a very large increase in the volume of account related queries, and port in requests - due to all those new members coming on board.

Port in requests in particular are very manual and time-consuming to process. This has put a lot of pressure on our valiant Member Service agents - who deal with both queries and ports.

In addition, new Ofcom regulations are about to come in (from April 11th) which require all mobile companies to process port in and port out requests twice as fast as they do currently. Again, this is great news for giffgaff (anything that makes it easier and faster for customers to leave mobile compnaies that are failing them is all right with us). But it does mean we have to make sure we can deliver against these timelines.

So to maintain service levels, and fulfil our obligations to Ofcom we are making some improvements to our Member Support operation.

1) Port in process improvements. From April 11th new Ofcom regulations  mean that port in requests must be completed within 1 working day (currently it is 2 working days).

In order to make sure we can do this we are bringing on a small team of new agents who will focus exclusively on ports.The new thing for us is that these agents will be based in India. Both the India and the Derry based agents are provided by the same supplier. So we have complete consistency in approach and management between the two sites. I have personally visited the team in India and can absolutely vouch for their commitment to customer service and professionalism, I look forward to having them join our extended team.

The main reason for locating these porting agents in India is cost. As a low cost business giffgaff needs to keep its operating costs low, and India is a cheaper location than Derry. However we also get a potential benefit from the time difference. India is 5 and a half hours ahead of the UK, so as a unified team it means we have the option of having a working day that starts at 4am UK time. This means we have greater flexibility to turn ports around in the required timeframe.

Having the Indian team focus exclusively on ports also means that the Derry team can focus on account queries - which are typically more complex individual cases which require a deeper understanding of giffgaff operations. To head off a question that I'm sure some will ask... this does not mean that we are looking to move the entire support operation to India in the future. We may expand their remit beyond ports by the end of this year, but we will always keep the Derry team as we recognise that service is not all about cost. There is a benefit for members in having agents who are closer to the core business, and that will not be compromised.

We are currently setting up and training the Indian team on the port process. The first day of porting being handled by the Indian team will be April 4th. Once they are all up and running I will introduce our extended team in the same kind of way we did last year.

2) More agents in Derry. Since we introduced the agent team to the communuity at the end of last year we have increased the Derry team by 30%. Given the recent continued increase in our customer numbers we are going to increase the team again by another 20%. Our new recruits will start in the first weeks of April, and I'll introduce them when they are on board.

3) Longer 'opening times' for agents. We have looked at the trends of when account queries are submitted and are changing our shift patterns for Derry agents, to better cover the periods of peak demand. This also means that we can be more efficient - which in turn means we can extend the overall the time the agents are online.

From Saturday 26th March Derry based agents will be available until 10pm seven days a week (currently they finish at 7 pm).

These changes will mean that we can keep giving members a brilliant personal service even as we grow rapidly as a business.


@rhino an easy way to do that would be a number to text. Unless it says speak to someone?

I did think they might have an automated system, but the problem with that is its security. Once you've requested the PAC they can either give it to you straight away or text it within two hours.  So the procedure needs to avoid the situation where somebody could get your phone for two hours and get a PAC for your number.  The recipient network assumes that if you quote the correct PAC and number combination then it must be yours so all the security surrounding porting has to be carried out by the donor network.

That would also be easy to do, make everyone quote their password when texting, or send the pac code to your email address/giffgaff inbox if its only request by phone

For clarity, the new wording is:


18.2   In the case of Mobile Number Portability, where the request is for porting a total of fewer than 25 Mobile Numbers,

           the Donor Provider shall:

(a)      allow Subscribers to request a PAC over the phone; and


(b)       where a Subscriber contacts the Donor Provider by phone, provide the PAC immediately over the phone where

            possible or by SMS within two hours of the request or by another reasonable mechanism if requested by the

            Subscriber and consented to by the Donor Provider.


I think the spirit of the requirement is the speed at which the PAC should be provided and I don't think giffgaff would have any problem fulfilling that within the current system.  I'm just wondering how it will comply with the letter of teh requirement that seems to assume there will be a call centre.


It's academic for me, anyway because I don't want a PAC at the moment.  I'd just like to be happy that Ofcom isn't going to force giffgaff to take on a new cost from this; or that whatever giffgaff does in response to the regulation is secure. 


Giffgaff has nearly two weeks to sort it out, anyway.


'allow Subscribers to request a PAC over the phone'?


That is probably the real reason GG are starting an indian operation, in case legislation forces them to pick up a phone and deal with their customers direct.


Are ports that important? Personally I think numbers should stay with the network they were originally issued by.


If Ofcom have the consumers interests at heart, they could start on on stuff like banning companies from locking phones to a network!



daveysludge wrote:

Are ports that important?

I've had the same number since 2000 and it's now on it's ninth network (although two of those were T-Mobile).  I wouldn't have moved networks nearly so often if I couldn't take the number with me.



It's clear from this thread that porting costs money, if people wish to retain their numbers they should pay for the privilege.

@davey porting wont cost that much once you have the systems. Orange GIVE you £30 if you take your number to them.

Yeah, 3 used to offer a tenner to port across, but it's costing money employing these 5 guys, why not recoup the costs?

Based on the average wage per day 5 people porting would cover the costs of the agents for a day, meaning if as many people are porting as giffgaff say, they will be making more money from the indian based agents. And porting isnt the real reason giffgaff hired these new agents otherwise they wouldnt even consider giving them more duties by the end of the year. 1st point, We need a team to specialise in ports, read down a few lines: we may give them more duties by the end of the year. So then its not a team to specialise in ports is it?